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When in need of an attorney, the process of finding one can be very stressful and overwhelming for anyone dealing with personal legal issues. There are countless lawyers out there, and when time is of the essence, it is critical to find a trustworthy attorney as fast as possible. In dealing with this pressure, most people find their lawyers through friend or family referrals and are surprisingly influenced by various demographics. One such demographic is a person’s gender. According to a recent survey conducted by Moses & Rooth, more women than men indicated that they seek friend referrals when looking for an attorney.
When asked by the survey whether they found their attorneys through friend referrals, 16% of women answered affirmatively while 11.9% of men answered affirmatively out of 215 total responses. In exploring the reasons for this difference, one hypothesis is that men and women naturally differ in their friendship dynamics.
Some studies suggest that women's friendships are based on a foundation of intimacy and interdependence, where they share an emotional connection and thus are predisposed to disclose private aspects of their lives with each other. They also put a larger investment into their friendships by maintaining regular contact and keeping up with each other’s lives. By establishing a close and supportive relationship with their friends, women seem to feel more comfortable discussing personal legal issues with friends and trusting them to provide honest warnings or endorsements about lawyers. Because women get to know each other on a more personal level, they have confidence in their friends to recommend a lawyer that would best suit their particular circumstances and individual preferences.
Men, on the other hand, tend to maintain their friendships on a more surface level. They see their time with friends as a method to cut loose and take a mental break from the stresses of life. Men’s friendships are more focused on activities and are less focused on emotional connectedness. This may cause them to be less inclined to talk about the personal aspects of their lives or keep in touch as often as women do. They may thus prefer to deal with personal matters, such as legal issues, on their own. However, men might be open to sharing their need for a lawyer by the transactional nature that their friendships can have. Thus, they will also seek friend referrals for lawyers in the same way they would when seeking a barber or auto repair shop. This could explain the reason for the number difference in the survey regarding friend referrals for lawyers.
In sum, most people prefer to find a lawyer through someone they already know and trust. For many, personal legal matters are just too intimate for the Internet, and by finding a lawyer through a reliable friend, many people feel that their personal legal matters would be handled with more care than by an attorney found on the Web.